Tim Curry

Tim Curry’s family kept his stroke a secret from the public – this is the cult actor today, at 76

Tim Curry is an English singer and actor best known for his role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show. His career spanned from Hair on West End to Spamalot on Broadway to playing Pennywise in the It TV series and Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. However, the now-76-year-old suffered from a stroke in 2012 that changed his life. He had to undergo speech therapy and physical therapy and use a wheelchair ever since. Throughout his rehabilitation, Curry explained that maintaining his sense of humor was “absolutely vital” but “not tough” since “it’s just part of my DNA.[1]

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From Choir Boy to Dr. Frank-N-Furte

Tim Curry was born in Cheshire, England on April 19, 1946. At age six, Curry already showed talent while singing as a soprano at his local church. In 1968, he graduated from Birmingham University with a combined degree in drama and theater studies. He and his friends started a street theater group, which led to his first professional role as part of the original London cast of the musical Hair. During the audition, Curry was asked if he had any previous professional experience and if he was a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Curry lied and said yes. When the producers discovered his fib soon after, they were impressed enough with his talent to sponsor his union membership.

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The success of Hair brought offers of recording contracts and offers to join groups, but Curry wanted to pursue acting. So he worked in the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Glasgow Civic Repertory Company, and the Royal Court Theatre. In the latter, he delivered a stunning performance of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show musical, which led to him playing the role in the Hollywood film that rose his stardom.

“They asked me to audition for it, and I sang ‘Tutti Frutti,’ which was appropriate, really. I started playing [Frank-N-Furter] as a German, then I saw the costume. It was quite diva,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I heard a woman on the bus one day saying, in this posh voice, ‘Are you looking at a new house when retiring to your place in the country?’ and I thought, ‘That’s it!’ Almost like the Queen. Well, it was a smash from the moment it opened. It was a tiny theater. There were only 60 seats. And then they brought it over to Los Angeles.[2]

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It wasn’t necessarily who I was

After Rocky Horror, Tim Curry continued performing in films, TV series, and on Broadway. He famously didn’t talk about the rock musical for years despite his new fandom. He finally broke his silence on the topic in 2005, explaining that he was worried about getting typecast. “That first performance that introduced me to everybody was so out there, so outrageous,” he said. “I was a very quiet boy for a while to make sure that people got it, that it wasn’t necessarily who I was.” [3]

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He co-starred with actor Ian McKellen in the show Mozart, and both received Tony nominations from it. He also starred as Pennywise in the 1990 TV series It, his most famous TV role. Two years later, he played the smarmy concierge in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In 1996, he played Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, which he said was an enjoyable role. “What’s extraordinary is that after the first day or two, you don’t think of them as Muppets,” he said. “You think of them as characters — as fellow actors.” He even used his grandfather’s West England accent for his character. “It was one of the happiest sets I’ve ever been on. There’s a conspicuous lack of ego among the Muppets.[4]

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Image Credit: Youtube | Watchmojo

Tim Curry Today

However, Tim Curry’s career was halted in 2012 when he suffered a stroke. His family and friends kept the incident a secret but the news was leaked to tabloids. Curry used humor to endure his health difficulties, saying his sense of humor is not hard to maintain because it’s part of his “DNA”. He has continued working, mainly in voice acting, as well as playing the criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again TV movie in 2016.

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After the stroke, Tim Curry made one of his first rare public appearances in 2015 on the red carpet at the Actors Fund Tony Awards Viewing Party to receive his lifetime achievement award. He began to appear regularly on the convention circuit. For instance, he met fans in December 2021 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. His most recent appearance was at The Hollywood Show convention at the Burbank Airport Hotel this past October. In 2020, Tim Curry reprised his most iconic role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a live stream reading of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show script during a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

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Sources

  1. “Tim Curry Makes Rare Public Appearance At Tony Awards Party Three Years After Suffering A Stroke.” Huffpost. Ashley Percival. June 8, 2015.
  2. “From the archives: Look back at when The Rocky Horror Picture Show cast reunited for EW.Entertainment Weekly. Keith Staskiewicz. January 21, 202
  3. “Tim Curry’s Life in Photos.People. Kate Hogan. April 19, 2022
  4. “Biography.Tim Curry.
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